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Wake up and smell the traffic!!! by City Tech Blogger Sergio Carrillo

As time passes technology is moving forward in many ways. Some countries really take it to the next level for applications in fields where there is a major need of enhanced ways of living in this beautiful environment. But lately the air we breathe is not as clean as years ago. Pollution is the main player when it comes to the environment and climate change. The use of many chemicals that apparently doesn’t seem to hurt our environment, is however,  having grave consequences that we have to deal with it. But, what has all of this to do with waking up and smelling the traffic?

In London, one of the cities with highest content of pollution in the world, transportation companies are looking for a way to improve the quality of air and they come up with the latest idea: Coffee grounds. Its hard to believe that coffee grounds can be converted into a source of energy to keep running a bus, but this is happening here in London. A company called Bio-Bean, in partnership with the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, introduced small portions of oil produced from coffee grounds into the mix of diesel and biofuels mandated by the city authorities.

Coffee has been around for centuries and if our body can take it, I’m sure the environment will take it too. Meaning that the air in London won’t be as contaminated as before when diesel was mixed with other chemical substances for transportation. It’s outstanding and remarkable when companies don’t just think about profit, but they look for the best benefit possible for the environment and the people who live in.

At present, according to “Transport for London”, which operates London’s public transportation system, the city authorities want to ensure that increasing numbers of buses are fueled by a blend of diesel and biofuels made of products such as waste cooking oil and tallow from meat processing companies. Additionally, more than a sixth of the bus fleet is powered by hybrid engines, and that proportion is set to grow. The authorities also want to convert the 300 single-deck buses to run on electricity or hydrogen, which emit no exhaust fumes.

Personally, I think this is a great illustration of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an unused source, and use the technology in a positive way. In the end, all we want is a better, safer and cleaner atmosphere to live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Adapting to Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Gerald Pasco

There are many different solutions that we as a society can do to help prevent climate change. When I think about ways to prevent climate change I think about the switch to renewable energy instead of relying on fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases play a huge role in climate change. But as much as we try to move to renewable energy there is still some places that still rely on fossil fuels. Honestly, to me the idea of preventing climate change in 2017 seems near impossible. Yes there are plenty of organizations that help to prevent it, but the problem of climate change isn’t usually on the top of everyone’s list. So if we can’t prevent it, maybe we can adapt to it?

Humans have been able to create solutions and adapt to problems countless of times. So it is no surprise to me when I read about several groups of people using their creativity to help find their own solutions to climate change. The New York Times recently put out an article that shows several different instances where people are trying to adapt to climate change and maybe even reverse it to save the environment and the people living in it.

Over in the northeast science station of Chersky, Russia, two scientists Nikita Zimov and Sergei Zimov have been trying to revive the ice age steppe ecosystem in today’s Siberian arctic. The idea was that during the Pleistocene geological era the Siberian arctic was a productive ecosystem. By reviving the ecosystem it could help reduce global temps by preventing its permafrost from melting. When melted the microbes in the soil could start to produce high levels of greenhouse gases.

Another area that has been affected by climate change is the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists have been saying that large parts of the Great Barrier Reef had been killed by  rising sea water temperatures. Researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science are trying to find solutions to help protect and repair the reef. Some of the solutions that has been discussed is assisted gene flow and assisted evolution. The idea behind assisted gene flow is to move corals that have adapted in Australia’s warmer northern climate to the southern cooler waters. The idea behind assisted evolution is to interbreed the most resilient corals that have survived past bleaching events. We tend to forget how important coral reefs are to our environment and to the ocean so it is important that we find ways to protect them.

Even though it might not seem like society as a whole isn’t paying much attention to climate change, we can always count on some people to help create and find innovative ways to adapt and protect our surroundings. The most important thing is to send these positive messages out and let everyone know it isn’t too late to make a change and any change in right direction will go a long way.

 
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Ocean Plagued by Climate Change also by Plastic Waste by City Tech Blogger Frank Trapani

The United Nations (U.N.) recently signed a document to stop plastic wastes in the ocean. The UN environment ministers will be meeting in Kenya to discuss more about this serious issue. However, the document is not something that is going to effect change immediately and for that reason many are upset about it. But the fact that this issue has been formulated into a signed document is seen by many as a milestone. China is a leading cause of plastics polluting the ocean with millions of mismanaged plastic wastes. One environment minister from Norway mentions that their goal is to aim for zero emission of marine litter. The question that remains is how long will it take to take action and when it does take action, will it be too late?

The sea isn’t just dealing with plastic wastes in the water, it’s being affected by many more threats. The sea right now has to deal with dead zones which are areas in the ocean with low oxygen, acidification and climate change, which do not seem to be improving. A lot of the problems there seems to be connected to the pollution within the water, whether it would be plastic or something else. If people expect things to get better, perhaps an effort can be made to stop contributing to the waste of plastics in the ocean while waiting for the U.N.to take action.  The one problem that can be seen down the road is convincing people they should do something about the plastic waste and support funding for better technology to help combat it.

 
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Forest Resiliency Down Due to Climate Changes by City Tech Blogger Frantzy Dor

Post fire tree regeneration and resiliency has been affected by climate change as reported by Science Daily. Researchers have analyzed 1,500 forest regions in five states over the past three decades and have concluded that post fire tree regeneration (a key indicator of forest resiliency), has declined significantly. Due to ongoing climate change in the 21st century, a considerably hotter environment persists in today’s world. This and other factors are the culpable reasons why we see forest fires so frequently in regions like Southern California. The research team behind this study led by Colorado State University stated that after a major wildfire, forest regions are taking longer than usual to regenerate,  if they regenerate at all.

https://www.nationalforests.org/our-forests/your-national-forests-magazine/how-trees-survive-and-thrive-after-a-fire

The National Forest Foundation gives us some insight of how forest regions regenerate after an uncontrolled wildfire. NFF suggests that forest regions regenerate and adapt after an uncontrolled wildfire by four mechanisms: Trees in fire prone regions develop thick bark because thick tree barks don’t have the propensity to catch fire easily. Fire induced sprouts is another survival strategy forest regions use to regenerate after a wildfire. Trees with extensive root systems can manage to regenerate because dormant buds are protected underground regardless of what occurred above ground. Serotinous cones is another defense tool used by forest regions to regenerate after a wildfire. The encapsulated cones are heat dependent and hang high up on trees. After a wildfire sweeps through a region, the heat generated by the fire causes these cones to open and gravity and wind power distributes the seedlings throughout the region. Fire activated seeds are yet another defensive mechanism used by forest regions to regenerate growth. In fire prone regions, trees produce seeds with a though outer coating that only germinate (begin to grow after a period of dormancy) after a fire has passed through. These seeds can lay dormant for several years waiting on the proper time to come into action. To combat the effects of climate change, Science Daily suggests that forest managers may want to plant trees in fire prone regions that can adapt to today’s climate.  It is evident now more than ever that we need to make changes in our everyday environment that well help mitigate the effects of climate change.

 
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Thank You Barnard Bloggers!

We here at ClimateYou want to thank all 29 Barnard students who contributed to ClimateYou.org over the last few months. We were thrilled with the variety of climate change issues you chose to write about and how wonderfully you expressed your very personal concerns for the planet’s future. Special thanks to your professor, Dr. Christian Braneon, who co-taught the Agricultural and Urban Land Use course at Barnard College with Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

 
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